Blogs & Opinion


Turkey sizzler: Rob Lee looks at the big showdown in Turkey and the form of Jonas Blixt

Rob Lee Posted 17th October 2012 view comments

Eight of the globe's top golfers are on the Mediterranean coast this week for the inaugural Turkish Airlines Golf World Final.

It's a strange competition that has come out of nowhere and I'm not sure it will be played again, but the point of it is to get Turkey on the map as a golfing, and holiday, destination.

I think the country's junior golf programmes are a little bit behind but they are building a lot of courses, especially in Antalya where the World Golf Final is being played, and they will be hoping that can boost participation figures.

Dynamic duo: McIlroy and Woods will square off at the Turkish Airlines Golf World Final

Dynamic duo: McIlroy and Woods will square off at the Turkish Airlines Golf World Final

Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar are the men involved, so there should be a pretty high standard of golf.

The octet will be split into two groups of four with the winners and runners-up of each pool progressing into the semi-finals on Thursday, before the final takes place the following day.

McIlroy and Woods have been drawn in the same group and will square off on Wednesday afternoon and I'm sure many people are salivating at the prospect of watching the duo go head-to-head.

It will be interesting but it isn't really going to count for anything and won't have the same intensity as if they were coming down the stretch in a Major. That's where they will be judged and not in the Golf World Final.

The winner of the tournament will receive a cool $1.5million, while the stars who get knocked out at the earliest stage will receive $300,000.

So either way the players will have a nice week.

Confident

Jason Day has slipped from inside the world's top 10 to around the mid-20s in the rankings this year and the birth of his son has disrupted his season.

However, he finished fourth at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas on Sunday and seems to be coming back into form.

The Australian is still very young and showed last year, by finishing second at both the Masters and the US Open, that he is a very talented and confident player, and I expect him to have a big 2013.

He has got a pretty complete game and I think the sky is the limit for him; he is definitely capable of winning a Major championship - and I suspect he will.

Jonas Blixt was leading going into the final round in Nevada but he saw his challenge fade and eventually finished behind victor Ryan Moore and Brendon de Jonge.

The 28-year-old also went close at the Byron Nelson Championship in May so is perhaps a tad frustrated that he has not yet collected a trophy - but winning is very difficult to do in your rookie season.

He is around the 60-mark in the PGA Tour Money list, despite not getting the big bucks from a tournament win, so he has had a very consistent campaign and probably exceeded his expectations; he looks an exciting prospect.

Scandinavia seem to have a crop of talented new stars - Blixt is one, Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen is another - who are ready to seize the mantle from the guys that have gone before, like Robert Karlsson and Jesper Parnevik. They are building another generation and I expect a couple more players to come out of the woodwork in the next few years.

John Daly had an extraordinary week in America; he shot 69 and 63 in his opening two rounds and 86 and 87 in his last two! The 46-year-old is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get.

The two-time Major winner is battling to secure his Tour card for next season and I hope he does it as he is a loveable rogue and still has a lot to offer the game.

I would like him to do that by playing really well in a tournament, though, and not piece-mealing it until the season's end.

ROB'S SKY BET TIPS

Portugal Masters: Martin Kaymer may have retained the Ryder Cup for Europe but Francesco Molinari won it for his continent by halving his match with Tiger Woods. That should give the Italian plenty of confidence and I think he will win at a price of 14/1 in the Algarve this week.

Fry's.com Open: I will go for Gary Woodland. His season has been curtailed by a troublesome wrist injury but I really like him as a player. The Fall Series can produce some surprise winners with a lot of the top guys not involved, and I think Woodland at a huge price of 50/1 can take advantage.

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